First, my interview with Phillipa Jane Keyworth:
What made you start writing?
If I’m honest, I’m not sure. The best way to describe it is like having a compulsion. I get a scene in my head, a character in a specific circumstance, and it won’t go away until I’ve written it down. Then as I’m writing it, the next scene appears in my mind’s eye, and then on and on it goes until the story unfolds before me. Except, it’s not a compulsion in a bad way, it’s pleasurable, creating your own world and characters and disappearing over the threshold for a while to another place and time…
So, I guess that’s what made me start writing.
Why historical romance?
I have loved historical romance since being introduced to the BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice when I was a kid. I tried reading Austen when I was younger, but as much as I loved the stories I found the prose a little hard at that age. When I found Georgette Heyer, that changed. Her writing helped me to connect with the period. Her witty repartee and strong heroines made me fall further in love with the genre.
It was reading Georgette Heyer, especially my favourite, Devil’s Cub, which encouraged me to write my own. She made me feel as though it was possible, and so my first historical romance, The Widow’s Redeemer, was born…
What are some of the challenges you find in writing historical romance?
The etiquette and culture of the age can make things difficult. As much as it’s what makes the 18th century and Regency period romantic in our eyes, the etiquette and culture of the period also have to inform the plot, and you can’t have just anything happen to move your characters’ lives along. You see, if it’s a fantasy novel, to some extent you can do whatever you like to fix a plot problem or get your characters from A to B, but historical romance requires study and a respect for the period to make it a story which is believable as well as enjoyable. It’s actually what makes it so satisfying!
Tell us about your writing process.
Hahaha! This question makes me laugh. You see, half of my brain is creative and the other half is super into lists and organization, but the thing is, creativity doesn’t work well when being bossed around. So when it comes to writing, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to stick to the same process. There is no formula to writing! Every book I’ve written has been different to write.
That being said, there are some general things that tend to be the same. For instance, I always write a first draft fairly ‘quickly’, with a few plot holes, character discrepancies and a whole lot of typos because I get excited and type really fast! Then, I leave it alone in the recesses of my computer for a few months and think on other things. When the time is right, I pull it back out, re-read the whole thing, and only then do I get down to editing. Finally, after a few edits I proof and voila! A novel has been born. That of course makes it sound quite straight forward. The truth is, when it comes to creativity, there really is no taming it, so often I’m held up by a muse who won’t show, and of course then there’s life in general getting in the way.
If you could write any other genre, which one and why?
I absolutely love murder mysteries. Always have. Ever since my dad used to whack on a good ol’ fashioned Poirot, Midsomer Murders or Miss Marple. I really enjoy trying to figure out who a villain is, and I always think it’s so clever when a writer manages to hold a secret from the reader and just leave little breadcrumb clues along the way.
I’m not quite sure how they manage it, those crime authors, I think they must be so clever. So, if I was to be able to write in another genre, I guess I’d love to do that.
Where do you look for inspiration for your stories?
Lots of different places really. I love people watching in coffee shops and picking up little things from everyday life. I love being in the countryside and the beauty of nature, specifically Cornwall which is my favourite place in all the world. I’m also a big fan of other historical romance writers, fantasy authors and some of the classics. Plus, I’m an absolute cinephile. I also like reading the Bible, and there’s some great stories in there which often give me ideas.
Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
Like I said earlier, Georgette Heyer is one of my all-time favourites. I do now love reading Jane Austen too—I grew into her! And I like Charlotte Bronte and Lucinda Brant who writes wonderful 18th century romance and crimance. I like fantasy authors like Joe Abercrombie, Alison Croggon, and for quirky murder mysteries I’m a fan of Alan Bradley’s Flavia De Luce series.
If you could give other aspiring historical writers one piece of advice, what would you say to them?
Just to carry on cracking on. Writing is something which is crafted over years and the beauty of it is that your writing will keep evolving and growing as you do, so don’t give up.
Where do you see your writing career in 10 years?
Oh, good question. I’d love to have branched out into the fantasy genre as well, which I have already written a few novels in that are, as yet, unpublished. I would love to have a series of historical romance novels on the go and generally have a nice wee back catalogue to entertain the fans.
Publication Date: December 1, 2016
Madison Street Publishing
eBook & Paperback
Genre: Historical Romance
website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.